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Monday, February 17, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington

Report: Washington’s homeless population grew last year

Mario Miller leaves a large homeless encampment known as “The Field” in his wheelchair through an entrance guarded by Seattle police officers, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, in Seattle’s Stadium district south of downtown. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Mario Miller leaves a large homeless encampment known as “The Field” in his wheelchair through an entrance guarded by Seattle police officers, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, in Seattle’s Stadium district south of downtown. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Associated Press

SEATTLE – Rough tallies of Washington’s homeless population showed an increase in the number of people living outdoors or in shelters and transitional housing, despite efforts to reduce homelessness.

The Seattle Times reported that surveys conducted in five of the six most populous counties in January showed a jump of 3.5 percent over last year. Especially troubling was a rise of 10 percent in the number of people sleeping on the streets or in tent encampments, from almost 8,500 in 2016 to more than 9,300 this year.

An additional 12,543 were counted in shelters and transitional housing.

Tara Lee, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jay Inslee, said the numbers “starkly demonstrate that while parts of the state are booming economically, the growth is not shared by everyone.”

One bright spot was a 25 percent decrease in Pierce County after two years of sharp increases.

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